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UK, France, US Concerned Over Iran Missile Test

06 December 2018

The senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces also said on Sunday that the country would continue to test and develop its missiles in line with its deterrence policy despite adversarial positions taken on this issue by USA officials.

Iran has become one of the world's missile powers despite the severe western sanctions on it over the past 40 years, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Sunday.

USA special envoy for Iran Brian Hook rejected Iran's insistence that its missile program is defensive.

On Saturday, Pompeo denounced Iran for test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads that could reach parts of Europe.

Resolution 2231 calls on Iran to refrain from "any activity related to ballistic missiles created to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology".

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Iran's test of a ballistic missile this month alarmed the West and France called it a destabilising act, but the European Union is focused on protecting the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal with Iran that US President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.

The language of the United Nations resolution "calls on" rather than "forbids" Iran from testing its missiles, according to Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council.

"Today, Iran is among the world's topmost powers in building missiles, radars, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)", the Iranian defense minister said in an exclusive interview with IRNA, emphasizing that Iran's defense power is meant to send the message of peace and friendship to other nations.

The comparatively weak language has led to some differences of interpretation, and these were highlighted on Tuesday when the Security Council held a closed-door meeting at the request of the French and British governments, both of which have previously expressed concern over the Iranian ballistic missile program and the regime's destabilizing influence over the broader region.

However, diplomats said they were now trying to limit the fallout of the decision by staggering the expected USA withdrawal into next year and first formally accusing Russian Federation of breaking the INF agreement, which rid Europe of land-based nuclear missiles. The recent launch represents an escalation and Iran declared last week that it will continue to develop its missile capabilities, aiming for longer range and more destructive weapons.

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Those US sanctions have targeted Iran's critical oil sector, as well as several major Iranian banks and other industries.

Britain, France, and Germany have been talking to Iranian officials about its ballistic missile programme and regional activities at the bilateral level since Trump indicated he would withdraw from the Iran deal in 2017.

"It is a grave and escalating threat, and nations around the world, not just Europe, need to do everything they can to be targeting Iran's missile program", Hook said.

Netanyahu made an unexpected trip to Brussels on Monday afternoon for the meeting with Pompeo, who is in Belgium for talks with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts.

"I want to thank you for everything that you're doing, for your strong statements on the latest violation by Iran on the ballistic missiles", said Netanyahu, ahead of a planned meeting with Pompeo in Brussels. "He reiterated America's resolve in confronting the totality of the Iranian regime's threats through maximum pressure", the State Department statement added. Officials have previously boasted of increasing their missile range and have specifically highlighted their supposed ability to strike U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere.

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UK, France, US Concerned Over Iran Missile Test